Real World Activities and Challenges
Citizen science is the involvement of the public in scientific research, whether community driven research or global investigations. These projects are designed for anyone who is interested in engaging in the processes of scientific research as a way to contribute to the goal of using and advancing scientific knowledge.
Citizen Science Projects
- Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE)
GLOBE works to build a collaborative, worldwide community of students, teachers, scientists and citizens to conduct real-world research. Through interdisciplinary activities and inquiries into the various Earth spheres, GLOBE gives students a hands-on approach to the science and engineering practices.
Citizen Science Associations, Agencies and Organizations
Below is a brief list of associations, agencies and organizations that curate citizen science projects and professional learning resources.
- Citizen Science Association
The Citizen Science Association (CSA) is a member-driven organization that connects people from a wide range of experiences around one shared purpose: advancing knowledge through research and monitoring done by, for and with members of the public. With increased attention to citizen science, CSA brings depth to how citizen science is understood both as public engagement and as research, and shines a light on the integrity and complexity of the practice.
CitizenScience.gov is an official government website designed to accelerate the use of crowdsourcing and citizen science across the U.S. government. The website offers three key components:
The K–12 climate challenges below can be done by individual students or as part of an instructional unit, an extracurricular activity and/or in collaboration with community organizations. The experiences range from mitigating greenhouse gases, facilitating civic engagement, to designing solutions for a specific impact that climate change is having on a community. These challenges foster students’ interests, questions and passions to inspire authentic engagement.
- Bergen County Utilities Authority Environmental Awareness Challenge Grant Program
The program promotes recycling and environmental awareness in Bergen County schools through granted programs relating to the environment.
- Climate Change Challenge
Hosted by Atlantic City Electric, Exelon, Sustainable Jersey and the Drumthwacket Foundation, the New Jersey Student Climate Challenge is a program to highlight the role youth can play in addressing the climate crisis.
The Ecochallenge helps students create habits and take action for a better world.
The KidWind Simulation Challenge is a design challenge that engages students in grades 6–12 through the lens of wind and solar energy. Student teams design, construct and test small scale wind turbines and solar structures at events all over the world.
- Jersey City Public Schools Sustainability STEAM Challenge
This challenge provides Jersey City Public Schools’ K–12 students with an opportunity to identify, research and solve problems in their neighborhoods.
- New Jersey Science Day 2022
High school students design a solution to reduce the impacts of climate change in their community through adaptation and/or mitigation efforts. NJ State Science Day is a competition to encourage and acknowledge high school students’ use of science and engineering practices to design a solution to a current and challenging problem in their community. The New Jersey State Science Day is open to all New Jersey students in grades 9 through 12. Students compete as individuals.
- Panasonic Student Eco Citizenship Project
The Panasonic Student Eco Citizenship Project is designed for grades 5–8 middle school students to explore environmental issues, discover how others are helping create a sustainable environment and make a positive in their community. As these middle school students become active participants in preserving the world, they will develop skills in literacy, research, critical thinking and problem-solving.
- President's Environmental Youth Award
The President’s Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) recognizes outstanding environmental projects by K–12 youth. The PEYA program promotes awareness of our nation's natural resources and encourages positive community involvement.
- STEAM Tank Challenge
The STEAM Tank encourages students to apply science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) in response to issues facing the world today. The challenge is open to K–12 public school students in New Jersey. It lets students contribute to making the country sustainable, healthy, equitable and safe. The New Jersey School Boards Association created the program, which is sponsored by the U.S. Army.
Involvement in community-based advocacy work provides students with the knowledge, skills, attitudes and perspectives needed to become active, informed and contributing members of local, state, national and global communities. Student advocacy can be as close to home as creating a community garden to as global as working to achieving the United Nations Sustainability Goals. The organizations listed in this section can provide structured opportunities for students to become involved in a variety of civic activities focused on climate change.
- Climate Generation
The Youth Action Ideas section of this website provides resources that can facilitate student actions such as Meatless Mondays, Young People’s March for Climate Action, Plant Trees, Stop Line and Grow and Give Community Garden Plots.
- Earth Guardians
Earth Guardians is an intergenerational organization that trains diverse youth to be effective leaders in environmental, climate and social justice movements across the globe — using art, music, storytelling, on the ground projects and civic engagement to advance solutions to the critical issues we face as a global community.
- Eco Ambassador Program
The Earth Institute at Columbia University engages youth so that they can begin educating their own communities about local environmental issues and take small steps to solving these issues within their communities.
- NJ Student Sustainability Coalition
NJ Student Sustainability Coalition is a youth-run network of New Jersey high school and college students. This collaborative network shares experience, resources and expertise to build student power across the state and push forward sustainability initiatives that benefit us all.
- North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE)
Through its programs, advocacy, conferences and other activities, NAAEE works with partners across North America and beyond to accelerate environmental literacy and civic engagement to create a more sustainable future.
The resources provided on this webpage are for informational purposes only. All resources must meet the New Jersey Department of Education’s (NJDOE) accessibility guidelines. Currently, the Department aims to conform to Level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1). However, the Department does not guarantee that linked external sites conform to Level AA of the WCAG 2.1. Neither the Department of Education nor its officers, employees or agents specifically endorse, recommend or favor these resources or the organizations that created them. Please note that the Department of Education has not reviewed or approved the materials related to the programs.